Mozart, Piano Concerto No. 27 in B flat, K595
This was Mozart’s last piano concerto.
Written in the winter of 1790 - 91, a time where Mozart and his wife were ill and struggling financially.
The Concerto No. 27 was only performed once in Mozart's life, in March 1791 with Mozart at the piano. This was his last public performance as a soloist.
Instrumentation: 1 flute, 2 oboes, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, strings and solo piano (no brass or percussion).
Although the concerto is in B flat major, sections in minor keys give the concerto a melancholy character, possibly reflecting Mozart's illness at the end of his life.
Listen to the characteristics of the concerto that are typically Mozartian:
- Precise, neat forms.
- The melody is predominantly in the violins during the tutti sections, with the lower instruments accompanying.
- Question and answer sections between the soloist and orchestra.
Movement I: Allegro
The concerto begins with a long orchestral introduction - this was common in concertos from the Classical period.
When the piano enters, listen to how the soloist is playing a melody from the introduction with added ornamentation to show off the soloist's ability!
Listen out for the pizzicato strings towards the end of the movement.
There is a cadenza near the end - this was written by Mozart, which was unusual. Listen to how the orchestra slows up before the cadenza, followed by virtuoso writing for the piano. The cadenza ends with a trill, which is another feature of Classical concertos.
Movement II: Larghetto
This movement, in E flat major, opens with a slow, lyrical melody in the piano, which is then repeated by the violins.
Listen out for the opening melody which returns throughout this movement.
Movement III: Allegro
This movement has a distinctive opening melody, which is dance-like and returns throughout the movement.
There is a small cadenza in the middle of the movement, before returning to the opening melody. There is another cadenza later on in the movement.
Listen out for the fast passages in the piano, such as when the orchestra plays the melody with the piano accompanying with fast arpeggios.
The ending is grand and loud.
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART 1756 – 1791
Prolific Austrian composer from the Classical era - he wrote over 600 works.
Mozart's compositions include a range of genres: operas, masses, arias, ballet music, symphonies, concertos, sonatas and chamber works.
Mozart's father, Leopold Mozart, was a composer, teacher and violinist.
The Mozart family travelled from 1762 to 1773 around Europe, including England, giving concerts to royal families and gaining recognition.
In 1773 Mozart was employed as a court musician for the ruler of Salzburg. Musicians and composers in the eighteenth century were often employed by patrons, for example Haydn.
Mozart later moved to Vienna, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Although Mozart was famous as a pianist and composer, he was never rich - fame didn't always bring in money in Mozart's day!
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